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or the font of all-knowingness of the things wot you really should know of...

This is the bit where 'what we do' is explained although to some extent you may feel we're teaching you to suck eggs - but then how many people have you met who actually know how to do that? Sucking eggs - it's a dying art surely? Really...

Anyway at the risk of appearing to state the bleedin' obvious, here's what you do need to know about how we deal with things like -

Copyright Skill Pooling Technical Thingummies Self Publishing

For now we are using the Print on Demand (POD)
and eReader template services of


for community projects and

for individual work

click image for more info on those websites


No pretending that this shouldn't cause headaches, 'cos it does, but copyright is essentially a simple matter. Anything you create that is wholly original to you, whether it's the purely written word, or intended to be spoken or performed (screenplays, scripts etc), if it's music, or artwork, this is always your copyright. Whether or not you bother to put the© symbol on it. Also whether you're posting it over on the DreamWorlds forums or submitting it to our production team here on the publishing site.

The key words here are original to you. So this is the main difference in DreamWorlds Publishing from our traditional genre roleplay forums - your work stems from your own concepts and creations that are distinct and not inherently derivative of other authors' worlds or plotlines. Fan-based fiction and roleplay can be heady and creative environments, but, because you're playing in a place that was conceived and developed by someone else, be that Middle Earth, Narnia, Arrakis, Pern or any otherworldly Utopia, or any other alternative magical realm to the one in which we live, then you are piggy-backing on someone else's creation and breaching their copyright if you attempt to claim it is your own work, or worse, try to make money out of your 'adaptation'. Fan fiction is great fun and it can be highly entertaining to read a different slant on Hogwarts, or Gormenghast etc, but because the original concept is not yours, you can't claim copyright, even if you're not using any of the characters, or even the place names associated with the original. It's tolerated as fair use where it's done as homage, and there is no intention to make money on someone else's franchise, but you only have to look to people like JK Rowling and Terry Pratchett, who are otherwise benevolently tolerant of their fanbase, but nevertheless will never read any fan fiction based on their respective oeuvres in case someone tries to tell them they've pinched their 'original' storyline, to realise that breaching somebody's copyright can be seen as tantamount to theft. Other contemporary authors like Anne Rice and George R.R. Martin go one further and formally insist that fanfic communities take down any content that tries to feature their respective literary territory and will enforce that desire with the full might of the law if that's abused.

" Fanfiction is what literature might look like if it were reinvented from scratch after a nuclear apocalypse by a band of brilliant pop-culture junkies trapped in a sealed bunker. They don't do it for money. That's not what it's about. The writers write it and put it up online just for the satisfaction. They're fans, but they're not silent, couchbound consumers of media. The culture talks to them, and they talk back to the culture in its own language."
Lev Grossman, TIME, July 18, 2011

Copyright is simply a matter of common sense in the end. When you've sweated blood creating a story that is very personal and specific to you, you wouldn't like it if someone came along and said that you'd taken their original work and tried to pass it off as your own would you? There are grey areas of course, especially where you're perhaps basing a storyline on something that's really happened, but the key definition is that the version you are writing in no way copies or 'borrows' from what somebody else has already put together. So there can be any number of novels or films about WW2, but the words and characters who say them (even if they're real people) have to come exclusively from you.

Bottom line is to keep your fan-fiction where it belongs - on the fan forums and enjoy it for what it is, an adventure in a world created by a beloved author. DreamWorlds Publishing is where you come to get your own unique creations delivered into the world at large.

 

Technical Thingummies

We accept soft copy work only in the following formats

  • Plain text (.txt)
  • Rich text format (.rtf)
  • Microsoft Word (.doc)
  • Microsoft Works (.wpd)
  • Googledoc (.gdoc)
  • Wordperfect (.wpd)
  • Adobe Acrobat (.pdf - Portable Document Format)
  • Adobe InDesign (.indd)
  • ePUB (.epub)

Most writers these days know their way around Microsoft Word et al well enough to produce a pretty good manuscript and a decent enough table of contents. They may even have a good grasp of suitable point sizes and the advantages of seriffed body text for print and sans for the screen. Then you're told to create an optimised PDF that is specified for the online printers template... And then you start looking at the exorbitant tariff for letting the in house tech heads tackle all of this for you.
Or perhaps you like to spew out the purple prose willy nilly and rely on the integral spell/grammar checker to pick up on your inevitable boo-boos, whether in standard or American English, but don't know where to go to get some impartial, yet thoughtful human critique on your phrasing, character development and pace? Or think you don't need much editing at all really?

With a background in print publishing, I know for certain that there is no way that I can adequately proof read my own work - because I know what I've written. Or rather because I see what I think I've written. So whilst I could more or less make my own work look pretty and professional on a printed page or screen, I know that I still need an editor to go over all the words and how they're hung together, because my fingers haven't always done what my head was telling them to. Spell check will do its job, but it's not infallible with syntax, or nuance. Sometimes, when I'm writing 'in the moment', I might start getting a tad repetitive (just a tiny smidgeon...). Or forget to put in the odd, but so vital, noun or adverb here or there, that bears no resemblance to the brilliance that my brain thinks it's laying down on the page.

Let someone else with a fresh, uninformed pair of eyes review and edit your work properly - they really will pick up on all those blips and ommissions that happen when you've been burning the midnight oil or just aren't paying attention. And give you an honest and balanced opinion of the actual heart and soul of your content. Admit it - you can't get all that from a spell checker can you?
Then, if you're happy to prepare a PDF, or edoc, or whatever device-friendly document of the refined work, we can hand it back to you to pass on to the printer of your choice. Or we can arrange to do that for you as well.

Skill pooling

This is the beauty of our collective. We all like to write, but also to read and so, by pooling our skills, you get an excellent editorial service from people you know appreciate your work and have experience of the production process too, so you don't have to do all the work yourself. Or, at the time of writing, part with a substantial sum to get your work polished to perfection.

Whilst writers oughtn't attempt to tackle editing their own opus alone, they do often make excellent editors for other writer's work, especially when they're familiar with their style. Because we know how important tone is to our own novels, when reviewing and editing someone else's work we totally 'get' that it's important not to disturb the aesthetics too much, whilst ensuring that spelling is exact and grammar is kept straight (if quirky where necessary). Those of us who are of a medieval bent are also generally wise to the jarring effects of an errant 'high five' amongst thine hero's mighty feats and demonstrations of exuberance... Or knowing when you've 'claimed the sweet lips' or divers body parts of one maiden too many times in this encounter thank you very much!
We've done it ourselves of course, so that's how we know. We really have been there, done it and got the T-shirt (alright - doublet if you insist on staying in theme) hanging up in the back of the garderobe. Talking of T-shirts we also have people who've got an eye for visual design, whether that's with a paintbrush and art paper or a stylus and tablet. Or even some caligraphic skill, or a talent for typography and can turn words into illustration. Or just know what shade of red needs to combine with a tint of blue to make your prose a lovely rich and meaningful purple? Looks matter after all when it come to bookshelf 'shout'!

By keeping things in the DreamWorlds family, there's a fair chance that the editorial team already knows your work quite well and wouldn't want to ride roughshod over your chosen style of writing. There's also the comfort of knowing that your production monkey has a degree in graphic design and worked with Her Majesty's Stationery Office, or that your editor's been the Chief Librarian for a London Borough and had academic papers as well as novels published. By sharing experience and skills, we can help each other get our work 'out there' in a professional manner, without the heartache and sheer expenditure of time and money that it would take to get your work seen (let alone accepted) by traditional companies and agencies. And next time, maybe you can return the favour and review and proof read my next potboiler for me...

 

Self Publishing - then and now
Once upon a time all writers were self-published, mainly because they literally had to write it all down themselves. Then, if they were rich or influential, they got other people to make copies if they needed to distribute it to a wider audience. Which is where writing started to get bastardised, as a distinction came into being between mere scribes, simply processing other people's original words, and the truly creative author.

Then we got movable type and the genie was well and truly out of the bottle, enabling multiple printing from just one typesetting, using wood or lead, and suddenly a whole industry was spawned almost overnight, getting more and more information, news, ideas and inventions of the hand, the eye and the imagination to an ever more literate population. But still writers had to handle their own publishing arrangements and contribute to funding the presses to roll out their words to an audience prepared to pay to read them.

By the end of the 17th century however, things began to change and the print industry began to flex its business muscles, as publishing houses became more efficient and prosperous and began to call the shots as more and more authors clamoured for their work to go into print. Supply gained the upper hand over demand and suddenly some writers found that their work wasn't going to get published unless they were prepared to pay over the odds to get it printed on what became known as the 'vanity' press. Where books that were not necessarily in demand got assembled in costly, minuscule quantities. Even authors of the calibre of Jane Austen, John Ruskin, Walt Whitman and Marcel Proust had to payroll their writings themselves to get the presses rolling.

And then, whatever you think of the content, we have the now legendary online example of Fifty Shades of Grey... Initially written as fanfic for the Twilight vampire fandom, E. L. James re-drafted her storyline into accessible 'mommy porn' and was picked up by virtual Australian publisher, The Writer's Coffee Shop and published on Lulu.com, then with Vintage Books, and made history as the fastest-selling new novel for 2011. Finally, with its 2 sequels (Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed in 2012), it outsold the Harry Potter series on Amazon worldwide.

Yes we know we said fan fiction was off limits elsewhere on this page, but the Fifty Shades series was vastly re-written so it bore little, or even no resemblance to Stephanie Meyer's vampire saga. Miss Meyer has said herself "that's really not my genre, not my thing...", so what do we know?!
The golden rule with self publishing seems, in the end, to amount to - 'enjoy, be confident and have faith in your writing'. There's nothing like the buzz you get from people saying that they like what you've written and can they have more please, so - what are you waiting for? Get writing that pesky story that's been lurking in the back of your mind for years today!


Buy the Books
at all good online bookstores
by ISBN in the High Street

978-0-9927472-0-6

978-0-9927472-2-0

978-0-9927472-4-4

978-0-9927472-8-2

978-0-9954536-1-6

 

             
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